There are several reasons why you might want to register a domain, e.g. yoursite (dot) com, but how do you go about doing that, and what happens next?
In this blog post we’re going to look at the reasons you might want a domain. We’ll also cover what to consider when you choose a domain and domain registrar. The domain registrar is the company you buy the domain from. We will touch on the registration process, and what you can do once you have your domain.
What comes next will depend largely on why you want the domain. So, it’s important to think about the ‘why’ before you start the process!
Why do I want to register the domain?
Your reasons for registering a domain will determine what steps you need to take, so:
Do you have a new business that you want to build a website for?
If you have a new business, you may also be looking for a company to host your website. It is simpler to register your domain with your hosting company, but it is not required. However, hosting companies often give you the first year of your domain registration for free if you also use them as your host, so this is worth considering.
Do you have a business/product/service idea that you want to register the name of, so that someone else can’t use it, while you develop your idea?
If you simply want to ‘park’ a domain name to use later, you might decide to go for the cheapest option of registrar until such time as you decide to move forward. You can then transfer your domain to your website hosting company. Or you can simply ‘point’ the domain to it’s new location (by updating the DNS records – simpler than it sounds!).
Do you want to have an email address that has your business/family/group name after the @ instead of Gmail, Outlook etc.?
You can also use a domain to create a bespoke email address. There are several different ways to do this (some free and some with a cost). If you then decide to do more with the domain name, for example build a website, you can do as discussed above.
How do I register a domain?
To register a domain you will go to the website of a domain registrar. You will then check if the domain that you want is available. If it is, you will then register that domain with the registrar.
This registrar you choose could just deal in domain names, or they could also host websites. The best registrar to use will depend in part on what you want to do next. Whichever registrar option you choose will not stop you from doing any of the next steps, but the choice can make things simpler.
There are many Domain Registrars out there, and it’s a good idea to read reviews. You want to compare not just prices, but add-ons as well. If you simply want to buy a domain, what you are looking for is simpler. If however you want to build a website, you should cross reference this research with a similar review of the registrar’s quality as a website host.
This recent review (dated July 2021) from Forbes – The Best Domain Registrars Of 2021 – gives you somewhere to start. This article from WPBeginner (dated September 2021) – The 7 “Best” Domain Name Registrars Compared (2021) – gives their view on registrars. It also includes a good explanation of what a Domain Registrar does.
The registration process
When you choose a registrar and check to see whether your chosen domain is available, your results will look something like this those shown below. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ve chosen a couple of common domain registrars. One that is often used for domains only (namecheap), and one that is also a popular website host (GoDaddy).
Please note: These are not a recommendation, they are simply an illustration of the process. Each individual case is so different, that we always recommend personal research before choosing the best option for you.
As you can see, the search carried out in the above screenshots was for the .com of the domain name, but the results will show you other options that are available too, and the costs associated with them.
Remember, even if you only want to buy the domain right now, it is worth including potential next steps in your decision process.
However, also remember that transferring a domain is a relatively simple process, so if you’re not ready to consider what might come next, just make sure to use a reputable Domain Registrar.
What domain extension should I choose?
You will probably be most familiar with the .com extension, but there are others to choose from too. For example here at SDM we have the .org extension. Depending on your business type, and whether the .com is available, you may end up choosing a different extension. There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this, but do think about which is most appropriate for you, and if in doubt, go for the .com.
What do I do next?
You don’t need to do anything if you are just parking the domain, other than making sure you renew your domain annually so that you don’t lose it!
If you are planning to build a website, then watch out for the next blog post in this series which will look at the process of choosing a hosting company in more detail (both free and paid options), and the first steps that you need to take to get your website started!
Please call or email if you would like help with this process, and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!